Volume 94, Issue 3

Friday, June 2, 2000


Arden shows London her sensitive side

Jackie kicks serious ass

Thanks and farewell

Whitney looks back
Pearl Jam moves ahead

Who says rock requires a singer?

Arden shows London her sensitive side

Photo by Jeth Weinrich
AREN'T I ADORABLE? Canadian singer/songwriter Jann Arden looks for some love and affection on her latest album.

By Matt Pearson
Gazette Staff

According to Jann Arden, life is nothing more than a series of insignificant events.

Yet with over two million albums sold worldwide and a string of radio-friendly singles like "Insensitive" and "I Would Die for You," Arden is fully aware of her career's development.

"The evolution is relative to life experiences," says the 38 year-old Calgary singer/songwriter. "You start writing about things that you're living and you realize how much you change over the years; life is hindsight."

Although some critics charge that she continually releases albums laden with melancholy, Arden insists her music does not have ulterior motives and maintains that the creative process is wholly random. "I'm not trying to purge emotional problems – it's much more lighthearted than that," she notes. "It's very recreational and it deals with liking sounds, liking tones, liking certain words strung together."

Stringing words together has become one of Arden's specialties since the release of her 1993 debut album, Time for Mercy. Arden rarely changes a lyric once written, but rejects any claims that she never alters her musical formula. "You can't sit down and write the same song everyday," she says bluntly. "As much as fans and people would like you to remain the same, it's just not very fun for me."

To this end, Arden's latest release, blood red cherry, is a noticeable departure from her earlier offerings. The singer shared song writing duties with bandmate Russell Broom, who co-wrote 13 of the album's 14 tracks. Although Arden admits the finished product is slightly different than her previous material, she is confident her fans will continue to support her. In fact, Arden notes, her record sales have increased slightly with each album.

This is an odd remark from a musician who seems so carefree when it comes to the business side of the music industry. In conversation, Arden is well-spoken, earnest and at times, even philosophical. She is expressive and passionate when asked about her experiences in Africa on behalf of World Vision Canada.

"[Travelling] changes your perspective," Arden says. "You can't come back and be the same." As a musician, she found the adventure both thrilling and inspiring. "Everything is musical in Africa," she explains. "The wind blowing dirt in your face, the flies buzzing– it's all musical, it's all very whimsical."

Arden also became fascinated by the musical traditions of the African people she encountered; traditions that seem symbolic of their way of life. "They sing together, they don't have solos," she begins. "They live and they co-habitate and they function because they're a group. As an individual, they'd die."

Back in Canada, Arden maintains she is a private person, despite her open, honest lyrics and willingness to post journal entries on her web site.

Nevertheless, Arden shuns much of the celebrity limelight cast upon her. "I don't go to parties, I don't have Armani dressing me, I don't participate in that," she retorts. "I'm kind of the anti-Christ of pop music."

This honest, down-to-earth approach is reflected in Arden's ability to look on the bright side. "[A sense of humour is] of paramount importance. Life is supposed to be fun; you're not supposed to toil till you die," she says with a laugh.

All things considered, it is an unlikely comment from someone whose entire career seems based on the toil of love and lost relationships.

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Copyright The Gazette 2000